By ANGIE?^THORNE
Fort Polk
Posted Mar. 26, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

FORT POLK -- A male coworker stops by your desk daily to tell off-color jokes or touches you in ways that aren?'t appropriate. A female coworker flirts with you constantly, even after you have made it plain that you aren?'t interested.

When you suffer through situations like these, feeling isolated can make the burden seem worse than it already is. Having someone you can go to for help can make all the difference in the world when you are the victim of sexual harassment and assault.

The Army is committed to eliminating these incidents through a focused and concerted effort that includes prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability.

That?'s why the Army?'s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program (SHARP) was created for Soldiers, Family members and Department of the Army civilians, and why the Fort Polk Installation SHARP was implemented. But now there?'s also a Garrison SHARP program to further enhance the SHARP mission.

Aida Rivera, Fort Polk?'s Garrison Sexual Assault Response coordinator, said the mission of the Garrison SHARP program is to reinforce the Army?'s commitment to treat all members of the military community with fairness and respect -- the end goal being the eradication of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The Garrison SHARP office, located in Fort Polk?'s Army Community Service Center, bldg 920, works hand-in-hand with the Installation SHARP program, Rivera said. ?"We are a team trying to make sure that Fort Polk folks are taken care of."

It?'s important that no member of the Fort Polk community falls through the cracks, said Rivera. ?"The Army has a commitment and responsibility to Soldiers, Family members and Department of the Army civilians and contractors to ensure that their lives and work environment are free of the threat of sexual harassment and assault," she said.

Rivera said there are people out there now that are dealing with these issues that think nothing is ever going to change. ?"Going to work can be stressful enough without having to deal with someone sexually harassing you. I just want those people to know that there is a program in place to help them," she said.

Rivera said the Fort Polk community deserves to feel they have someone they can trust. ?"They should feel secure that they won?'t be left alone during this moment of crisis. It?'s very difficult to be a victim of sexual harassment or assault when you have an unresponsive system," she said.

In an attempt to make the system not only responsive, but also superior, the Department of Defense has created an intense credentialing process, said Rivera.

Page last updated Fri March 28th, 2014 at 13:42